Athlete Resource Center - Running - Common Questions Runners Ask | Eastbay

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Running: FAQ's from Runners

Eastbay Running Copywriter, J. Sisko

Date Updated on: 4-24-12

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Is it common to have two feet that are different in size and shape?

Yes, it is common to have two different sized feet, and this difference is often half a shoe size, but it can be bigger. When sizing your shoes you should always fit them to the bigger foot. The reason for this difference is that we often favor one side of the body to the other, and when we are standing we will often stand on one foot rather than equally weighted on both. It is often this foot that is bigger.


How tight should I wear my shoes?

This is a difficult one because what feels comfortable is different for each of us, and some people will prefer a tighter shoe when others will not. As a general rule of thumb, if you can pull your shoes off without undoing the laces you are probably not wearing them tight enough. Something to remember is that if you are wearing a support shoe and not tying it tight enough you are negating the work it is doing for you.


Why do I keep losing my toenails when running long distances?

The most common cause of this problem is wearing shoes that are the incorrect size for you. Generally, if your shoes are too small, they will impact the front of the shoe and bruise your nails. Function can also cause this type of problem; however, it is far less common. If the shoe is not supportive enough for the foot, it will increase movement in the shoe and the chances of impact on the nails. Check for proper sizing first. Black toenails in shoes that are too wide in not uncommon.


I suffer from terrible blisters on the arch of my foot. How can I fix this?

Blisters are caused by moisture and movement, as they both create friction and it is often a combination of the two that leads to blisters. The best way to reduce moisture is through wearing the correct socks. Running socks are designed to remove moisture from the foot and reduce these problems. To reduce movement, you need to ensure that the function and size of your shoes is correct. If the function is incorrect, additional pressure will be placed on the arch area of the foot increasing the movement and friction on the arch.


How long can I expect my shoes to last?

Generally speaking, running shoes are designed to last between 350 – 500 miles. The more efficient the runner, the closer they will get to 500 miles and vice versa for the less-efficient. There are a number of factors that affect the life span of your shoes. Things like running surface, frequency of use, foot types, weight and types of activities all play a role in how long your shoes will last.


How do I know when my shoes are finished?

It is often difficult to know when your shoes are done by looking at them visually, as most people look at the wear on the bottom to gauge how far along they are. However, the carbon rubber on the bottom is designed to be highly abrasion-resistant. It often outlasts the life of the shoe, and is not a very good indicator of when the life of the shoe is finished. The best way to know is to have a look at the creases in the midsole. When the entire midsole is creased, the shoe is finished. This will occur long before the outsole appears to be done.


How long should I have my shoes before a marathon?

For most people, marathons are difficult. Since your body is placed under significant stress, it makes sense to get a little bit back from your shoes towards the end of the race. Therefore, it makes sense to not run a marathon in shoes that you have run more than 350 miles in. You can still wear the shoes after the race, but run in a fresher pair on race day. On the flip side, you do not want to start the race in a pair that you have done less than 50 miles in, as it is important that your shoes are worn in and comfortable.


I wear orthotics. Will this affect the type of shoes I wear?

Yes, your orthotics will definitely affect the type of shoe that you should be running in. Traditionally, people with orthotics have been told to run in neutral shoes due to their orthotic. However, as shoe technology has increased this is not longer the case. Your shoes can play an active role in helping your orthotics to work better. The best person to give you guidance on the shoes that will work well with your orthotics is the person who prescribed your orthotics.


Is it possible to have flat feet and not pronate?

It is possible, uncommon. People with flat feet usually have very flexible feet as well as joints, and this will often cause their ankles to roll too far towards the inside when they are running. Having said that, the world's best runners are often black Africans who have very flat feet, and they are certainly some of the most efficient runners in the world.


Is there anything I can do about my heel slipping in my shoes?

There are various lacing techniques that can improve the fit of your shoes through the heel. A reduction of movement in this area will improve the fit of the whole shoe and your confidence in it. Lacing plays a big role in the fit of the shoe and here are various techniques to help you.


For women, what are the real advantages of gender-specific shoes?


There are definitely real advantages to gender-specific shoes. Traditionally, women's shoes have just been smaller men's shoes in different colors. But due to the significant differences in men's and ladies' biomechanics, the additional features specific to women are very important. These differences occur in the geometry of the shoes as well as in the fit, where women's feet are often significantly different.


How do I know if I need to wear a shoe in a width?


Getting shoes in the correct width for your feet is very important. Not only does it improve your comfort, but also the function of the shoes. Shoes that are too narrow can lead to discomfort, numbness and pain. Arch blisters are a common side effect. Shoes that are too wide can lead to excessive movement in the shoe, which creates an uncomfortable running experience.
Eastbay offers various width options to cater for all foot types, with D being average for men and B being average for woman. You will know yourself when buying everyday shoes if you struggle to find shoes in the correct width as most everyday shoes are an average width fitting. If you find everyday shoes too narrow, try a 2E (wide) width or a 4E (extra wide) width for men or a D (wide) width for women. If you find everyday shoes too wide, try a B (narrow) width for men or A (narrow) width for women.

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